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math degree -> robotics

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Magician:
Hello everyone,

I would like to consult about my path to robotics in the future.

Currently I'm a senior undergraduate in Mathematical Statistics. I would like to work in technology fields especially in robotics (hopefully daily life support robot) if possible for my age 25-50. For the other technology fields I'm interested in, it includes optics, image/language processing and something like mind controls (not sure how it is called).

The problem (or not?) is that I like studying mathematics and would like to further study in Mathematics at Master level. So my question is, is there a good chance for (Master) graduates in Mathematics to work in robotics field? or I need to choose Master in engineering instead? I know material in other disciplines is also important but, if possible, I expect to self-study for saving time (not to go to another Master in engineering) or learn when working with my colleagues if I could get a related-to-robotics job.

For your information, about Mathematics program, I expect to concentrate on subjects like machine learning, optimization and something like neural network modeling along with exploring other mathematical tools that have the potential to apply in robotics or technology field such as mathematical physics or mathematics of mechanics.

It would be greatly appreciated for every suggestions and other suggestions (not directly involved with my question) would be very helpful.

Thank you,

ErikY:

--- Quote from: Magician on January 04, 2013, 09:35:22 AM ---Hello everyone,

I would like to consult about my path to robotics in the future.

Currently I'm a senior undergraduate in Mathematical Statistics. I would like to work in technology fields especially in robotics (hopefully daily life support robot) if possible for my age 25-50. For the other technology fields I'm interested in, it includes optics, image/language processing and something like mind controls (not sure how it is called).

The problem (or not?) is that I like studying mathematics and would like to further study in Mathematics at Master level. So my question is, is there a good chance for (Master) graduates in Mathematics to work in robotics field? or I need to choose Master in engineering instead? I know material in other disciplines is also important but, if possible, I expect to self-study for saving time (not to go to another Master in engineering) or learn when working with my colleagues if I could get a related-to-robotics job.

For your information, about Mathematics program, I expect to concentrate on subjects like machine learning, optimization and something like neural network modeling along with exploring other mathematical tools that have the potential to apply in robotics or technology field such as mathematical physics or mathematics of mechanics.

It would be greatly appreciated for every suggestions and other suggestions (not directly involved with my question) would be very helpful.

Thank you,

--- End quote ---

I have an undergraduate B.S. in Mathematics, and a PHD equivelent in applied stats.

For the past 12 years I have been working in software, software engineer, architecture, management.

Mathematics definitely helped me in software, but other than some physics classes, I have zero mech or electronic engineering experience.

Personally, if I could do it over again I would chose either mech engineering or electronic engineering, or possibly robotics as far as degrees go.

Since I don't work in the robotics field, take my comments for what they are worth, but my opinion is if you want to work in robotics, one of the engineering fields would probably be better, unless you want to focus on the programming side of robotics and get into neural networks or something along those lines, in which case mathematics MAY be the best route.


Magician:
Thank you for you comment.

Let me explain more. I think robotics depends on many different fields & technologies. In order to advance robotics field, other related technologies need to be more advanced and definitely I believe society will benefit from these related technologies. That's why I decide to put and learn Mathematics at a central tool, especially applied mathematics, because I believe that new mathematical tools will be needed in the future for supporting new technologies. Definitely other related disciplines such as applied physics also need to be advanced but I need, at first, to choose a handful of stuff to be specialized and collaborate with several other discipline specialists to save time. I don't expect to learn every related disciplines before going to get a job. Moreover, I was in technical college, when I was 15-18 and attended many (maybe elementary) mechanics and some electronics classes and found that most of works do not interest me as much as Mathematics does. That's a reason why I didn't choose an engineering field in Bachelor degree.

My dream is that I would like to see technologies go as advanced as possible and robotics should finally benefit from these advanced technologies. And I will be very happy if I can use my knowledge to drive at least one of those technologies via my independent research or hopefully collaborative research with other discipline specialists. As in my first post, if I can get a robotics related job, especially in industry, I probably have a good chance to apply any other new technologies into the robotics business of the company.

You can see that I have a parallel interest in mathematics and technologies. If my understanding has something wrong or anyone would like to add something, any other opinion or idea would be very welcome.  :)

jwatte:
I've been a hiring manager (for software development, not robotics) for a large part of my career.
In general, I've found that someone who proceeds past undergraduate to masters' tends to be someone with above-average resources, skill, and capability, and thus is a desirable hire.
Someone who then goes on to PhD after that, tends to be somewhat too narrowly focused for the wide area of challenges you'll typically face in a small, fast-moving development company. (This has not always been the case, but it's been frequent enough to be a pattern.)
Thus, adding a M.S. degree will on average increase your hireability, and will give you better value for money for your undergraduate studies.

From a personal point of view, deepening an area of interest (be it mathematics, physics, computer science, EE, mechanics, chemistry, whatever) is almost always worth it. You'll probably like your life better if you do!

Whether mathematics is "the right choice" for getting into robotics, I can't say. It's certainly one of the skills you need to have. You also need some understanding of mechanics, electronics, software engineering, and computer science. For specialized fields, more specialized knowledge is also useful; signal processing; signalling theory; networking; dynamics; even physiology or 3D animation will be useful in places.

Finally: The main concern I would have with a candidate that has a very math/theory-focused background, would be "can this person actually get real results in real life?" Adding applicable, hands-on skills in some appropriate area (software engineering, electronics, etc) and some good projects to demonstrate those skills (open source contributor, or whatnot) would help alleviate such concerns.

Again, this is from my personal point of view, synthesized from positions in several different companies, and only in general. The specifics of each position and each candidate are never all that average, though :-) Still, I hope this helps!

Magician:

--- Quote from: jwatte on January 05, 2013, 11:30:58 AM ---I've been a hiring manager (for software development, not robotics) for a large part of my career.
In general, I've found that someone who proceeds past undergraduate to masters' tends to be someone with above-average resources, skill, and capability, and thus is a desirable hire.
Someone who then goes on to PhD after that, tends to be somewhat too narrowly focused for the wide area of challenges you'll typically face in a small, fast-moving development company. (This has not always been the case, but it's been frequent enough to be a pattern.)
Thus, adding a M.S. degree will on average increase your hireability, and will give you better value for money for your undergraduate studies.

From a personal point of view, deepening an area of interest (be it mathematics, physics, computer science, EE, mechanics, chemistry, whatever) is almost always worth it. You'll probably like your life better if you do!

Whether mathematics is "the right choice" for getting into robotics, I can't say. It's certainly one of the skills you need to have. You also need some understanding of mechanics, electronics, software engineering, and computer science. For specialized fields, more specialized knowledge is also useful; signal processing; signalling theory; networking; dynamics; even physiology or 3D animation will be useful in places.

Finally: The main concern I would have with a candidate that has a very math/theory-focused background, would be "can this person actually get real results in real life?" Adding applicable, hands-on skills in some appropriate area (software engineering, electronics, etc) and some good projects to demonstrate those skills (open source contributor, or whatnot) would help alleviate such concerns.

Again, this is from my personal point of view, synthesized from positions in several different companies, and only in general. The specifics of each position and each candidate are never all that average, though :-) Still, I hope this helps!

--- End quote ---

Thanks! your suggestions is very helpful. I plan to take hands-on experiences with my interested fields to see how things work as much as possible before graduation.

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